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FI114-15 Film and Television Analysis

SCAPVC - Film & Television Studies
Undergraduate Level 1
Module leader
Alastair Phillips
Credit value
Module duration
9 weeks
50% coursework, 50% exam
Study location
University of Warwick main campus, Coventry
Introductory description

The module has been designed to offer stduents a thorough introduction to the close analysis of film and television. The first part offers a chance to explore a range of film texts from different historical periods and national contexts in order to experience, and compare, different approaches to the expressive use of film form and mise-en-scène. The interest is always to explore the ways in which choices made in relation to film form and mise-en-scène create meaning, and how this then impacts upon interpretation. The second part will explore the theorisation of television as a medium through the study of ideas of television flow, address, and narrative. It will develop the skills of critical textual analysis related to television and enable students to describe, discuss, and analyse what might be understood as a ‘televisual aesthetic’. By the end of this section of the module, students will be able to offer clear and precise critical analyses of a wide range of television programming, be familiar with several key critical approaches within Television Studies and also have an understanding of the historical and national contexts in which different programmes have been made and broadcast. This section of the module will concentrate largely on UK and US television, but it will also compare and contrast the objects of study with those made and broadcast outside of the UK and US.

Module aims
  • It aims to provide intensive practice in looking at and listening to a wide range of film and television texts.
  • It aims to teach the basic technical and analytical vocabulary of textual analysis and film and television criticism so that students can describe accurately what they see and hear when they watch and listen to a film.
Outline syllabus

This is an indicative module outline only to give an indication of the sort of topics that may be covered. Actual sessions held may differ.

Week One
Screening: Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, US, 1950)
Topic: Introduction to Film: Sound and Image

Week Two
Screening: Elephant (Gus Van Sant, US, 2002)
Topic: What is Mise-en-scène?

Week Three
Screening: La Règle du jeu (Jean Renoir, France, 1939)
Topic: The Shot I: Framing and Composition

Week Four
Screening: Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (Apichatpong
Weerasethakul, Thailand, 2010)
Topic: The Shot II: Movement and Duration

Week Five
Screening: Edge of Heaven (Germany/Turkey, Fatih Akin, 2007)
Topic: Editing: The Organisation of Space and Time

Week Seven
Screening: M (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1931)
Topic: Music, Voice and Silence

Week Eight
Screening: episodes from The West Wing (NBC, 1999-2006) and Miranda (2009-2015)
Topic: Television and Style

Week Nine
Screening: excerpts from BBC News and This Morning (ITV, 1988- present)
Topic: Television and Flow

Week Ten
Screening: episodes from The Wire (HBO, 2002-2008)
Topic: Television and Narrative

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Students will be able to make reasoned and carefully argued interpretations of individual film texts. Students will have gained confidence in the practice of audiovisual analysis. Students will feel able to make reasoned and carefully argued interpretations of individual film and television texts. Students will be able to reflect upon the validity of other accounts and interpretations within the critical scholarship.
Indicative reading list
  • Richard Dyer in Oxford Guide to Film Studies (eds. Church Gibson and Hill) pp. 3-10
  • John Gibbs and Douglas Pye in John Gibbs and Douglas Pye (eds.) (2005) Style and Meaning: Studies in the detailed analysis of film, Manchester: Manchester University Press, pp.1-15
  • Bordwell and Thompson Film Art. An Introduction (5th edition) Chap. 6 (‘The Shot: Mise-en-Scene’), pp. 169-209
  • Corrigan and White The Film Experience. An Introduction Chap. 2, pp. 42-74
  • Gibbs Mise-en-Scene. Film Style and Interpretation Chap. 1, pp. 5-26
  • Aumont et al Aesthetics of Film Chap. 1, pp. 31-7

Butler, Jeremy (2012) Television: Critical Methods and Applications 4thEdition (New York and London: Routledge)

Mitchell, Jason (2015) Complex TV: The Politics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (New York and London: New York University Press)

Williams, Raymond (1990) ‘Programming: distribution and flow’ in Television, Technology and Cultural Form (London: Fontana), pp. 78-118

Ellis, John (1982) Visible Fictions: Cinema, Television (London: Routledge)

Subject specific skills

This module develops skills of audio-visual literacy, through close textual and/or contextual analysis in relation to the moving image and sound. It may also develops understandings of historical, theoretical and conceptual frameworks relevant to screen arts and cultures.

Transferable skills
  • critical and analytical thinking in relation
  • independent research skills
  • team work
  • clarity and effectiveness of communication, oral and written
  • accurate, concise and persuasive writing
  • audio-visual literacy

Study time

Type Required
Lectures 9 sessions of 1 hour (18%)
Seminars 9 sessions of 1 hour (18%)
Other activity 18 hours (36%)
Private study 14 hours (28%)
Total 50 hours
Private study description

wider viewing and reading, and research in preparation for assessment

Other activity description



No further costs have been identified for this module.

You must pass all assessment components to pass the module.

Assessment group C2
Weighting Study time
1500 Essay 50% 50 hours
Online Examination 50% 50 hours
  • Online examination: No Answerbook required
Feedback on assessment

Detailed written feedback will be given essay, along with individual tutorials (if requested) and group oral feedback after grading.

Past exam papers for FI114

Post-requisite modules

If you pass this module, you can take:

  • FI358-15 The Art of Animation
  • FI249-15 Hollywood Cinema: History, Theory, Industry


This module is Core for:

  • Year 1 of UFIA-W620 Undergraduate Film Studies
  • Year 1 of UFIA-QW25 Undergraduate Film and Literature
  • Year 1 of UITA-R3W5 Undergraduate Italian with Film Studies